BWW Interview: Mark S. Hoebee Producing Artistic Director of Paper Mill Talks A BRONX TALE

A Bronx Tale: The Musical will on the Paper Mill Playhouse stage from February 4th through March 6th. The show will be co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks with choreography by four-time Drama Desk Award nominee Sergio Trujillo. A Bronx Tale: The Musical features a book by Chazz Palminteri, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. Leading the company are Jason Gotay as Calogero, Joshua Colley as Young Calogero, Nick Cordero as Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, Coco Jones as Jane and Lucia Giannetta as Rosina.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical is based on the real life story by Chazz Palminteri and is set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s. It is the story of an Italian-American teenager finding his path in life as he must choose between the father who raised him and a mob-boss father figure who fascinates him. chatted with Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director about the upcoming show.

Hoebee joined the Paper Mill Playhouse staff in 2000. Under his artistic leadership, the theatre has become a noteworthy incubator for new musical theater. Successful partnerships with Disney Theatrical Group, Cameron Mackintosh, Kevin McCollum, The Dodgers and others have enabled Paper Mill to produce the American Premieres of the 25th Anniversary production of LES MISERABLES and The Hunchback of Notre Dame as well as the world premiere productions of Newsies, Honeymoon In Vegas, Ever After, The Bandstand, and A Bronx Tale: The Musical.

On Broadway, Hoebee directed the Actors Fund Benefit concert of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which starred Emily Skinner, Terrence Mann, and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson. He has directed National Tours of Victor/Victoria, Dreamgirls , Company, and Almost Like Being in Love: An Evening of Lerner and Lowe. This season Mark will direct the theater's much anticipated production of West Side Story. His other directing credits at Paper Mill include Dreamgirls, Hello Dolly!, Harold and Maude: The Musical, The Will Rogers Follies, The King & I, Miss Saigon, Grease, Disney's High School Musical, Peter Pan, Smokey Joe's Café, Curtains, Damn Yankees, and The Full Monty.

Hoebee also has had an impressive performance career and has been in more than ten Broadway and National tour productions. He has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Dance and Theatre Department at his alma mater Northwestern University. He currently serves on the NAMT Board. Hoebee resides in Glen Ridge, New Jersey with his partner Larry Elardo, who is the Broadcast Manager for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and their two children, Stephen and Ashley.

Hoebee told us why he feels A Bronx Tale: The Musical will appeal to metro area audiences. "The movie is so popular and has such a strong story about a young man, his father, and following a charismatic character. It is also an interracial love story. Even though it takes place in the '60's, these themes are still very current today. The bottom line is it's about love and family. That's a universal theme that never gets old."

We asked Hoebee to share some of his thoughts about the production team and cast. "Lets start with the authors, Chazz Palminteri, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. That's an AA list team. Then we have the direction of Robert DeNiro and Jerry Zaks and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. It doesn't get any better than this. To have one of them working on a show would be amazing. To have them all is unbelievable. And we have an incredible cast. They are all people who are working at the top of their craft. They are working beautifully together and individually."

Hoebee talked about the fact that Paper Mill is considered an incubator for new works, exciting musicals and great theatre. "We are trying to open our doors to invite in creative individuals. People are finding it a home and we love that. We want to be supportive so people can do their best work."

A Bronx Tale: The Musical has personal appeal for Hoebee. "I'm a huge fan of the movie. My son Stephen is 17 and in the middle of his teen years. What is happening on stage is going on in real life. Stephen is also a big fan of the movie. He loves it and can't wait to see it. My daughter Ashley hasn't seen the movie and will learn the story for the first time when she sees the Paper Mill production." Hoebee does suggest that the show is best suited for viewers 13 and up. His family will be part of the new audience that will experience A Bronx Tale: The Musical.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. College students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Photo Credit: Mark S. Hoebee, Courtesy of Paper Mill Playhouse

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From This Author Marina Kennedy